Why hustlers never cease to amaze me

A dog was spotted peeping through a window on the back left seat of a car along Uhuru Highway, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Our old number plates are being replaced with fancier ones that mimic Rwandese or Ugandan number plates.

One has to visit the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) headquarters to get new plates and return the old ones. Why can't we keep old plates as souvenirs?

And with all the technology, why does a car need two number plates? Why can't have only one plate like cars in Quebec, Canada?

Last Thursday I visited the NTSA to check on the logbook for my Toyota Vitz. The place was empty, one just walked to the counter for service, unlike other days characterised by long queues. Blame mandamano for the "quick service."

I got more than I bargained for at NTSA. The Kenya socio-economic class system was in full display. A gentleman came to pick the new numbers with a companion, a dog. He used a small box spanner to remove the number plates then left the dog in the car and walked away to get new number plates. The dog appeared at ease.

Carrying dogs in our cars has supplemented walking them as the newest status symbol. The other new status symbol is "point fivation," from point five. Ask your neighbour to interpret for you.

The gentleman in the Subaru (and his dog or pet) also demonstrated a Western trend, do it yourself (DIY). Lots of things we call "experts" for are done at home by individuals in the West.

This is driven by the cost of labour and love of privacy. I got a dose of this first-hand - a car spare part going for $7 (Sh987) cost me $40 (Sh5,640) to fix in the Deep South.

Outside the NTSA parking areas, the other socio-economic class was economically active. Young men walked around carrying spanners and pliers.

They will remove the old number plates and replace them with new ones for a small fee! Entrepreneurs never fail to see the money! There are many Kenyans who feel good when someone does something for them.

I am always amazed by how hustlers smell money in the most unlikely places. They are tuned to reality and solutions. As academics, we are tuned to textbooks and journals, removed from hard reality. I have said that in silence lest I be stoned...

Ability to smell money and never wasting a good crisis - to quote Winston Churchill defines hustlers.

They see solutions and money. I wish we all see life through that lens. Would Kenya not be a more homely place to live? Are the corrupt reading this?

Remember how hustlers rode through Covid-19? How have you made use of a good crisis? Talk to us.